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Sharps and flats on the guitar fret-board
Recall that I stated there are no sharps # or flats (b) in the key of C. I also said if you were sitting at the piano, all the white keys make up the key of C major. The black keys, are the sharps and flats that make up other major keys. Now I would like to explain the sharp and flat notes and where they're located. The sharp has its own symbol and that symbol is (#). The flat also has its own symbol and it is (b).
Take a look at the image below and notice the notes along the Low E string. Of course, the first note will be the open Low E string which is the thickest string. Moving along the string, the next note is the F note, located on the first fret. Look below and find the F note. One half step or 1 fret from the F note, will be the F# note at the second fret, look at that note.
One half step from the F#, is the G note at the 3rd fret. Look above and notice that G note. The next note is the G#, A, A#, B, C, C#, D, D# and E. After the E note, at the 12th fret, all of the notes repeat. Remember me telling you in the earlier lessons that all notes repeat after 12 frets?
So, you have now learned that one half step equals 1 fret the distance from one note to the next. You've also learned that 1 whole step equals two frets. For example, the F note is one whole step away from the G note. The F note is one half step away from the F# note. Sharps are determined by the arrow on the image below. Moving in the way of the arrow, you would be ascending or moving to higher notes on the fret-board and you would have sharps as illustrated.
Look at the image below and notice the notes are now flats. Moving in the way of this arrow is descending and you would have flats. Look at the image below.
Look at the image above and notice the flats are illustrated. See which way the arrow is pointing. The notes would be flat as you descend down the fret-board. Don't let this confuse you. Look at the Gb (flat) on the second fret above. That G flat, is the same note as the F#. Look at the upper image, at the second fret and notice the F#. The A flat is the same note as the G#. They're either sharps ascending of flats descending. No big deal. The most important thing to know is, each note is one half step away from each other, or 1 fret. And one whole step equals two frets apart. Look below.
Look at the notes on the Low E string. The G note, on the 3rd fret, is one whole step away from the F and the A notes. The B note, is one whole step away from the A note, but one half step away from the C note. The F note is one half step away from the E note, but one whole step away from the G note. This information is very important and should be studied. You will be using this information to build up your major scales. Once you learn this, figuring out major keys will understandable. You may want to make a copy of these blank guitar fret-board illustrations to complete your first assignment.
Use the blank illustrations and fill in the notes of the fret-board both ascending and descending. This assignment will really help with note placement.